If only tonight I could sleep

I needed a tape for the sound workshop we just did in this amazing hacienda in the lush coffee region of Colombia. So I grabbed a couple of used ones I could record on, and headed to this place on a 9 hours bus ride through the most dangerously curved road ever, ironically called La Línea (the line). I was bored and scared, which is a curious mix of feelings. So I decided to check one of the tapes out. It was decorated with a handwritten imitation of the typography on the original CD it was recorded from. It was The Cure’s “Kiss me kiss me kiss me”. I think I hadn’t listened to that album, and to The Cure for that matter, for more than 15 years. Yes, I’m old. Anyway, the hair on my neck (I’m not THAT hairy) was standing up, suspended as I listened to songs like “How beautiful you are”, “If only tonight we could sleep” and “Like cockatoos”. Especially those three. It was probably the songs bringing back memories, as they say. But no. I hated being a teenager, so why feeling thrilled? it certainly is a pleasure to recognize melodies, textures and to understand the lyrics. But to that extent? In the book “This is your brain on music”, Daniel Levitin, among many other interesting explanations, says that we become emotionally attached to the music we listen to as we grow up and configure our personality, so it may be only natural to feel the way I felt. I listened to The Cure until I couldn’t bear it. I kissed repeatedly (obediently) the giant Robert Smith poster I had in my room. I new all the lyrics although understood only half of what they said. I danced, sang and cried to their songs. I was such a fan I had to stop listening to their music at all, like an addict giving up for good. I had to make room in my brain for new music and I also decided The Cure was not good after the “Disintegration” album and moved on. Years passed.

Then maybe what I felt on the bus ride wasn’t mere recognition or emotional attachment. Maybe their music WAS good, after all. So good it made me feel again (and again and again) that weird mixture of sadness and joy, so many years later, no longer scared and bored.


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